Free radical polymerization of methyl methacrylate in nanopores has been shown to result in a decrease in the time for the onset of autoacceleration. In this work, we simplify our previous kinetic model of nanoconfined methyl methacrylate polymerization, which was based on the work of Verros and coworkers, and incorporate diffusion effects into the model using the Doolittle free volume theory. The simplified model well describes the experimental calorimetric conversion versus time data for isothermal bulk methyl methacrylate polymerization, capturing autoacceleration and the dependence of the limiting conversion on temperature. In order to model the reaction in nanopores, we assume that the diffusion coefficient scales with molecular size to the -3 power and with nanopore diameter to the 1.3 power. Experimental calorimetric conversion versus time data for polymerization in hydrophobic nanopores are well captured by the model, including the decrease in the time to reach autoacceleration with decreasing pore size. The scaling assumed is consistent with that predicted using molecular simulations for good solvent conditions by Avramova and Milchev and by Cui, Ding, and Chen. According to the fit of the experimental data, chain diffusivity is 20-50% of the bulk value in 13 nm-diameter pores.
- Free radical polymerization